WHEN bowls clubs hurried to adopt the three-tier administrative system, it seemed the sensible and logical way to go.
But it's proved to be anything but that. It's been responsible for bowls being reduced to a minor entity in clubs founded solely for the purpose of providing it as a sport.
Having men's and women's bowls controlled by committees, leaving the board to handle the everyday affairs of running a licensed club, worked at first.
There was close cohesion between the three sections, all with the same aim - fostering the sport of bowls.
But then non-bowlers were accepted on boards. They had no interest in the game.
Their interest was profit motivated. And the upkeep of bowls was expensive - why would they want to keep it?
Communication between the board and the two bowls committees died. Decisions affecting bowlers were made without any consultation with the bowls committees.
Other sports - less expensive - were taken in to join the bowlers and the club names were changed to accommodate them.
Bowls seemed to become a dirty word - one to be avoided, even in club documents.
It's time bowlers were jerked out of their apathy and realised what is happening to their game.
It's not the game. It's not a lack of popularity. It's a lack of top-level acceptance of the primary purpose of a bowls club.
Fiesta Fours winners
Kingy man leads field in quest for national bowler of year
THE man with the unique delivery, Kingscliff's Ian "Tails" Taylor, is leading the field in Bowls Australia's race for national Bowler of the Year.
Now 56, the former Australian international who won silver in fours at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada is in front after 11 prestige events have been taken into account under the new Bowls Australia ranking system that came into effect on July 1.
Taylor leads reigning Australian Indoor champion, former England international David Holt, by six points, with present Australian star Brett Wilkie a further six points back in third spot.
Leader for the women's title is 17-year-old Jamie-Lee Worsnop, the St Johns Park youngster who recently became the youngest male or female to win an Australian Indoor title. She also is the current Australian Open Under-18 champion.
Australian rep Natasha Scott is 18 points away in second place, with two New Zealand greats, Jo Edwards and Val Smith, close together third.
The new ranking system is a far broader method than the previous one. It includes more events from which points can be allotted. State and Territory associations are able to lodge applications with Bowls Australia for their events to be ratified for rankings. When approval is given, they are categorised into one of four tiers based on certain criteria.
The lucrative Australian Open provides the most points available.
THE Northern Rivers 2014 Rookies champion, 14-year-old Indi Conlan, of Alstonville, will face his biggest challenge this Sunday at Ballina RSL. He is the NRDBA representative in the three-district zone Rookies final to determine who will move on to the State decider.
The youngster will play the Clarence River rep in the first round in the morning. Loser of this game will be up against Tweed-Byron. Then to complete the round-robin, the winner of the first round will face Tweed-Byron. Play will start at 9am.
On Saturday at Alstonville, Indi and twin brother Kit will compete in the district Rookies pairs against two teams from Ballina Cherry Street and one from Ballina RSL. The winner will play in the zone finals on Sunday week.
A RIFT has arisen between two bowlers who are competing with each other to set a Guinness world record for most clubs played at in a year.
In the past week or so, Victorian Chris Thomas, 43, has been playing the required 10 ends at clubs in our area. Some time back Frank Peniguel, 71, did the same thing.
Peniguel, of Canberra, started his record attempt on January 10; Thomas began his six months later, on July 3.
Peniguel isn't pleased someone is challenging his record before he sets it.
"I spent 12 months working with Guinness World Records for this." he told Queensland Bowler magazine. "I've sent a complaint to them."
Says Thomas: "Someone will attempt the record sooner or later, so why not me?"
Peniguel aims to play at 900 bowls clubs by next January. At the last count he was around 400. Australia has 1600 bowls clubs.
A good read
LEADING Gold Coast bowls scribe Ross Thompson has set some sort of a record of his own, visiting 50 bowls clubs around Australia gaining their stories for his book, Life and Soul of Bowls Down Under.
He showed me the publisher's proofs of his book at the weekend. On sale in two weeks, it is easily the best piece of bowls literature I've seen. The pics - from snowbound rinks to cyclone-devastated clubhouses - are magnificent; the copy bright and breezy. Thompson is a newspaper journo from way back and he can be proud of this product.
One of the stories tells of the time in 1985 when Coolangatta was suspended from State and national events for a year because it defied official edicts not to allow players on the greens in coloured shirts or with sponsors' logos.
Another pic, of a sign at Kangaroo Island, South Australia, shows how that club is treating the smoking issue. The sign says, "Smoking or carrying a lighted cigarette on the green: Penalty Law 58B." It goes on to give the penalty, including forfeiture of the game in which the offence occurs. Copies of this excellent book will be available from the author by phoning 0421 320 019 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE Northern Rivers Veterans have their next outing for the greybeards of our game on Tuesday week. This time it's at Casino RSM. Names are required early for catering purposes. Regardless of the Bowls NSW view that bowlers have to be 65 to be a veteran, players over 60 will be made welcome. Contact is Barrie Enright (6628 2143).